While Lindsey Graham Was Stalling Merrick Garland’s Confirmation He Was Hoping for Imminent Hunter Biden and John Durham News

One of the very last things Lindsey Graham did as Senate Judiciary Chair was to send a letter to Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson urging him not to do anything about two investigations that — according to his addled little brain — “Democrats would rather go away.” In addition to the Delaware investigation of Hunter Biden, Lindsey included the John Durham investigation in that.

I was even the primary sponsor of bipartisan legislation, favorably reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to protect Special Counsel Mueller’s probe from being terminated. Special Counsel Mueller of course found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but it was important for public trust that the probe be completed without interference.

We now find the shoe on the other foot. We have two properly predicated, ongoing investigations Democrats would rather go away: Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the investigation by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office into Hunter Biden. Special Counsel Durham’s probe has already yielded a felony conviction.

I am writing to respectfully request that you refrain from interfering in any way with either investigation while the Senate processes the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the position of Attorney General. The American public deserve the truth and must know that these investigations will continue without political interference.

There’s a lot that’s ridiculous about this letter. It is laughably false to claim that Mueller “found no evidence of ‘collusion,'” — that would be a false claim even if Lindsey had used the legally relevant term of “conspiracy.”

The shoe is not on the other foot. In contradistinction to Trump’s incessant focus on the Russian investigation, there has been no peep about these investigations from the Biden White House. Instead, Hunter Biden rolled out a book deal the other day, which led his father to focus on the import of recovery from addiction, not legal risk.

Lindsey waves Durham’s single felony conviction around — as compared to Mueller’s much more productive investigation and based on evidence entirely derived from Michael Horowitz’ investigation — even after presiding FISA Judge James Boasberg concluded that Kevin Clinesmith did not commit that crime out of any ill-will and sentenced him to a year of probation.

It’s just such a pathetic effort to sustain conspiracy theories Trump chased, and in spite of the Fox News piece on this letter quoting someone that sounds remarkably like Lindsey Graham talking about an ongoing investigation he shouldn’t know about off the record, it’s not actually clear that either of these will result in a showy prosecution. Hell, for all we know, Durham has shifted his focus to what the FBI Agents who were sending pro-Trump tweets on their phones did during the investigation or why Bill Barr’s DOJ submitted altered documents to a criminal docket, precisely the crime Clinesmith pled guilty to.

To repeat, Graham wrote this to urge Wilkinson, who remains in charge of DOJ and oversees the Durham investigation (Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin probably oversees the Hunter Biden one) because Merrick Garland remains the most senior Cabinet official who hasn’t been confirmed yet. This was one of his last acts as Chair of SJC.

But the other major final stunt before handing his gavel over to Dick Durbin was precisely that delay. In spite of Garland’s bipartisan support and in spite of Durbin’s exhortations to stop delaying, Lindsey simply didn’t take up Garland’s nomination when he counterparts were doing so. And so DOJ may not get a confirmed Attorney General until late February or early March.

Probably, Lindsey primarily stalled this confirmation just to impose a price on Democrats for impeaching the former President.

But I had been wondering whether Lindsey didn’t have more in mind, perhaps the delay of charges that DOJ would not unseal without Garland’s sanction. And that may be the case.

But along with that delay, Lindsey has also delayed his opportunity to obtain assurances from Garland that he’ll leave these two investigations Lindsey is obsessed about untouched.

63 replies
    • PeterS says:

      I’m not sure how serious you are, but for me such comments have somewhat ugly echoes of “lock her up” from 2016.

      Unless you’re pointing to specific evidence of a crime?

      • bmaz says:

        PeterS….Seriously? Asking that something be looked at is nowhere near “Lock Her Up”. If you might recall, one of the subjects of this post, Durham, is supposedly looking at all things.

        • PeterS says:

          “Maybe DOJ should investigate (insert name of ardent Trump supporter)” to figure out whether a crime happened.

          When referencing only general political behaviour, that does have an echo for me, even if “investigate him” isn’t as crude as “lock her up”.

          “Maybe DOJ should investigate Graham for specific action X” would have got no comment.

          No disrespect to PJE intended.

        • PeterS says:

          Care to educate me? I try hard to keep an open mind.

          My view is that using the criminal justice system against political adversaries is something to be done with caution.

          Saying this does NOT equate Hillary’s actions with those of Trump’s enablers.

          • timbo says:

            Not if those “political opponents” have been violating laws every which way to Tuesday. See also “Hatch Act”. Failing to enforce laws like that just leads to more contempt for the law itself, and by extension the Constitution that is the framework in which those laws could thrive if only one were to enforce the “political” law violations that have been violated so often with unseemly impunity by those who now actively conspire sedition.

            • PeterS says:

              Sure, hence my original comment saying “unless you’re pointing to specific evidence of a crime?”.

              (I simply don’t know about retrospective enforcement of the Hatch Act; though I do know it’s too late to fire Ms Conway :))

  1. BobCon says:

    How much did has the Graham stall hurt DOJ’s ability to organize a campaign against the supremacist movement?

    I know the FBI has a lot of autonomy in terms of its immediate moves, but it’s not clear to me at what point they need higher authorization in terms of broader investigations.

  2. Chris.EL says:

    Speaking of “addled little brains”, Exhibit A, Rudy Giuliani: [whaaat is with the way R.G. opens up his eyes to express the reaction of — what can only be — sitting down on a prickly pear cactus??!! Just sayin’ — so f-ing *weird* — so Giuliani is *perfect* for radio — a sad day for us all.]

    From link: [courtesy of WABC] httpss://www.mediamatters.org/rudy-giuliani/rudy-giuliani-lashes-out-his-employer-wabc-adding-legal-disclaimer-his-radio-show

    … “RUDY GIULIANI (HOST): I would have thought they would have told me about that [the disclaimer] before just doing what they just did. Rather insulting. And gives you a sense of how far this free speech thing has gone and how they frighten everybody. I mean we’re in America, we’re not in East Germany. They’ve got to warn you about me? I’m going to have to give that a lot of consideration. I also think putting it on without telling me, not the right thing to do, not the right thing to do at all.

    But got to tell you another thing, my dedication to free speech outweighs a lot of other things I can do. Let’s go to Art, Westchester. ” ….

  3. dsl says:

    Speaking of Lindsey and Fox, did you see that Murdoch media was trying to pull a classic ‘both-sides-whatabout-eye-for-eye’ using a Psaki tweet where she called him #LadyG? I assume this is supposed to be their tit for tat on the Greene social media mining that led to her removal from committees.

    Yes, Murdoch media, let’s have a conversation about the origins of that (alleged) nickname! Yes, Grenell and Greenwald, let’s find out what it means and why it means that. Then, let’s decide if it’s homophobic or something else. Let’s ask Lindsey about it too! Good idea.

    • graham firchlis says:

      “#LadyG” ?

      Goodness gracious sakes, whatever could Psaki have meant? My mind’s a total blank, no idea whasoever, not a clue, not an inkling, not even a twinkle, as it were.

      Do worry if he is getting enough exercise these days, with his golfing bff permanently out of town. Unrelieved longing by both consenting adults, no doubt.

      Rumor has it Trump, who famously always plays by winter rules, regularly brags that no one cleans his muddy balls with as much enthusiasm as dear Lindsey.

      Or so I’ve heard.

  4. bmaz says:

    I still maintain that Durham, as a DOJ employee, was not eligible to be appointed as a “special counsel” and that his appointment as one by Barr was improper and for that reason, he could …legally… simply be terminated. That obviously would create a firestorm from the howlers.

    But, at a minimum, now that Durbin has wrested control of SJC from Graham, he should immediately start the confirmation process for Garland. It really does not need to take weeks, irrespective of the ongoing impeachment show trial farce. And, make no mistake, Durbin can make it happen. Three hours a day for four days would give pretty much the equivalent of two full days of SJC hearing consideration (the normal standard), and then floor vote. Get on with it.

    Then as soon as he is confirmed, Garland should summons Durham to explain exactly what it is, i.e. what crimes and suspects, he is really investigating at this point (which is his only legitimate mandate), if any. Then decide what to do with him. But Durham should not be allowed to blithely roam around at will with no reporting.

  5. punaise says:

    Who the heck knows how/why Graham went bonkers, but Churchill was prescient:

    “I cannot forecast to you the action of Lindsey. He is a waddle, wrapped in a Miss story, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

  6. Chris.EL says:

    Is an off topic question about Sullivan acceptable?

    Heard Sullivan gave Notice of Senior Status — does that amount to Notice (not taking any more cases?) or (planning to retire?).
    This is interesting:

    … “Who Owns Kavanaugh #1: The Justice & The Replacement
    Part One of this five-part series examines how Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court seat came to be open, and why he was chosen to fill it.
    Greg Olear and LB” …

    Link: https://gregolear.substack.com/p/who-owns-kavanaugh-1-the-justice?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=twitter

    • Peterr says:

      It’s a kind of semi-retirement status. From uscourts.gov:

      Senior Judges

      Article III judges who have met age and service requirements set by federal statute are eligible to take senior status if they are at least 65 years old and have served at least 15 years on the bench, or any combination of age and years of service thereafter that equals 80. Regardless of age, judges must serve at least 10 years to qualify for senior status.

      Upon taking senior status, judges may choose to handle a reduced caseload. Senior judges handle about 20 percent of the total district and appellate caseload. By taking senior status, even if maintaining a full caseload, a judge creates a vacancy on the court, to be filled by the nomination and confirmation process for Article III judges.

      Senior judges receive the salary of their position at the time of taking senior status as an annuity.

      Because there is no mandatory retirement age for Article III judges, there is no requirement that they take senior status.

      I had not heard this about Sullivan, but I know a number of judges have announced taking senior status so that (as is noted above) it creates a vacancy that Biden then can fill.

  7. greenbird says:

    goodness! what a mad tea-party of commenters!
    chicago_bunny restored my proper pulmonary functions, as did commenters who followed.
    handles-monikers of fame swarm, literati preside.
    bird will rest easy, dreaming of Eminent Emmet serving long years to come.
    (bird is overcome with bird’s treacle.)

    • Chris.EL says:

      This fellow on Twitter, Hoarse Whisperer, does a thing every Friday, to help followers with “good vibrations” for the pandemic, etc.

      This contributor voices a concept of the Virgin Mary I have never encountered before; so it is refreshingly funny…

      “Valerie Nuzzo
      Replying to
      Wrote some tiny poems:
      I am different now
      I close my mouth to certain words
      There is a bowl on the shelf that is never used

      Raymond Carver said “time is a mountain lion”
      I raise my arms and holler
      trying to seem bigger than I am
      1:55 PM · Feb 5, 2021·Twitter Web App
      Valerie Nuzzo
      Replying to
      God’s Instagram is nothing but photos of French pugs
      I thought the end of the world would come later
      It’s the weekend though – God loves weekends
      My COVID-long hair has turned the color of smoke
      The Virgin Mary candle has burned enough she has no head
      I pray to her hands” …

  8. e.a.f. says:

    Having sort of watched the non confirmation of Mr. Garland, the thing which keeps popping into my mind is, what is Lindsay Graham and his “handlers” so scared of when Mr. Garland is confirmed or is he stalling because it takes that long for the paper shredder to get to everything.

    • skua says:

      Kissinger described Nixon as someone who would lie, not from expidiency or malice, but as normal routine.
      Maybe Lindsay obstructs in a similar manner?

    • Troutwaxer says:

      He’s worried that someone will learn about the computer programmers he’s hired to decrypt everyone’s passwords. In short, he doesn’t want anyone to know about Graham’s Crackers.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    Good cheers at the Treasury. Open the gates…. looking for the Holy Grail, maybe, we’ll get the Con’s Taxes

    “Some mixed news for progressive tax enthusiasts: Joe Biden’s administration has chosen both a committed progressive tax advocate and a Republican career expert in corporate tax avoidance for its first two appointees to the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy. We’re now in a strange situation where experts who testified on opposite sides of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will now serve shoulder-to-shoulder.

    On Monday, Kimberly Clausing, the Eric M. Zolt Chair in Tax Law and Policy at UCLA Law, was sworn in as the Office’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis.

    Clausing’s appointment is an undeniable win for progressives. Clausing is a renowned expert in international corporate taxation and has long been a proponent of reforming tax laws to prevent base erosion — the practice in which businesses reduce the tax base by lowering their domestic corporate profits — and profit-shifting overseas. During the 2017 debates over tax reform, Clausing testified before Congress on the need for more progressive taxation and preserving corporate income tax rates above those on individual income. At Treasury, Clausing will undoubtedly continue to reliably support tax reforms to capture missed revenue due to corporate tax avoidance strategies. …” Tax Prof

Comments are closed.